When Matthew Pottage, the curator of RHS garden Wisley, invited me to visit, I jumped at the chance: Wisley in Surrey is one of the UK's best known gardens, with a very fine glasshouse full of choice tropical and subtropical plants, and some impressive plans for expansion in the coming years. But most important of all, I happened to know that Matthew is a fellow houseplant enthusiast.
After a tour of the gardens, we sat down in Matthew's plant-filled office to talk about his collection, the controversial topic of variegation, and how the heck he managed to bag a rare Phalaenopsis orchid for £5 at a London department store (it's the one pictured left - full taxonomy unknown). Below is a list of the plants we mention:
- Epipremnum aureum (aka Pothos) 'N'Joy'
- Agave bracteosa (Matthew has a variegated form)
- Schlumbergera aka Christmas cactus (Matthew has a variegated form)
- Cut leaf Asplenium
- Sansevieria 'Bantel's Sensation'
- Saintpaulia 'Mac's Black Jack'
- Saintpaulia 'Pip Squeak'
- Sansevieria 'Twisted Sister'
- Zamioculcas zamiifolia 'Raven'
Question of the week
Listener Jennifer wants to know what to do about her leggy Kohleria 'Bristol's Possibly Bronze', grown from a rhizome supplied by a friend last winter. I advised that this member of the Gesneriad clan tends towards legginess but will take a good trim. There's a useful article on Kohlerias from the Gesneriad Society in this PDF here (start from page six) and there's also some guidance on the Gesneriad site The Violet Barn. If you are in the UK/EU, Dibleys has a good selection of rhizomes including the compact 'YF's Emma' and the more straggly yet still beautiful 'An's Nagging Macaws'.
Did you catch my Facebook live last Monday? Catch up below!
On The Ledge joins Patreon
So I've joined Patreon so that you can show your support for the show and get the extra On The Ledge content you're calling after. For as little as $5 ($6 with fees added) you'll get at least TWO bonus podcast episodes per month, plus extra posts and info you won't find anywhere else.
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On The Ledge talks, live show and houseplant chats
I'll be making an appearance at Gardeners' World Live in Birmingham on June 14 on the Blooming Interiors stage - check out the schedule here, and stay tuned as I'll have a ticket giveaway coming up in the next few weeks.
I am also going to be at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on the afternoon of July 4 giving talks on houseplants in the roses theatre - do join me if you can. And on the evening of Friday October 26 I'll be bringing a live show of On The Ledge to the RHS London Urban Garden show, with special guests including Alys Fowler and all kinds of leafy fun! Put those dates in your diary NOW!